Catching up with Marxist Mayor Bill de Blasio

Bill de Blasio

In recent years, while many other major American cities have declined precipitously in quality of life, with crime statistics booming and workers and taxpayers fleeing to the suburbs, New York City has thrived. This is no coincidence. After the living nightmare of the 1970s and 80s that can still be seen in movies like Death Wish (1974) and Taxi Driver (1976)a time when the subways and Central Park and whole neighborhoods seemed to have been taken over by criminal gangs and the police had been defanged by feckless, politically correct mayors such as John V. Lindsay, Abe Beame, and David Dinkins – Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (1994-2001) turned everything around by making vigorous use of the police department and city courts. Things kept running relatively smoothly under Mayor Michael Bloomberg (2002-13), although one could argue with his nosy nanny-state policies, such as attempts to control the consumption of soft drinks.

De Blasio and family

But then along came de Blasio. On the surface, his election made no sense. Giuliani had almost surely saved the Big Apple from fiscal disaster and civil disorder of the sort that has plagued cities like Chicago, Detroit, and Baltimore. De Blasio, an out-and-out Marxist, was fiercely opposed to the kind of governance that had pulled New York back from the brink. He bought into the idea that heavily policing high-crime black neighborhoods is racist. In July 2015, we made note on this website of a proclamation he had recently issued congratulating The Nation, a far-left weekly published in New York, on its anniversary. The proclamation painting a glowing picture of The Nation, depicting it as a positive moral force that “mobiliz[ed] its readers to articulate and reaffirm their values and to take action in the name of progress (necessarily ruffling not a few feathers along the way).”

De Blasio with Al Sharpton

In fact, as we pointed out at the time, The Nation was the flagship publication of American Stalinism. Over a period of decades, it passionately defended (or minimized the significance of) Stalin’s Gulag and show trials, systematically demonized Stalin’s critics, and mocked and vilified American freedom. Nor did The Nation‘s insipid politics evaporate with the death of Stalin or the fall of the USSR. After 9/11, Christopher Hitchens, a longtime Nation columnist, quit the magazine because he was disgusted by its editors’ view that America had deserved what it got. He called The Nation “the voice and the echo chamber of those who truly believe that John Ashcroft is a greater menace than Osama bin Laden.” De Blasio’s praise for The Nation should have discredited him for all time in the eyes of every New Yorker who had lived through the city’s darkest day. But it didn’t. 

De Blasio at a mosque

Nor, bafflingly, have New Yorkers been put off in significant numbers by his various social and economic policies, which have changed New York’s course, heading it once again for that proverbial cliff. By ordering an end to the NYPD’s spectacularly effective “stop and frisk” strategy, which certain self-styled leaders of minority communities had criticized, de Blasio showed that he cared more about good relations with race hustlers than about the safety of New Yorkers. Similarly, by putting an end to an equally successful Muslim surveillance program, de Blasio showed that he was more interested in being praised by groups like CAIR than in protecting his city from another 9/11.

Cops turn their backs on de Blasio at funeral for slain colleague Wenjian Liu, January 4, 2015

Also, De Blasio repeatedly gave the impression that he viewed cops as racists. When two police officers were murdered during his term, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association blamed their deaths on de Blasio’s anti-cop rhetoric. Not long after, when he attended the funeral of a policeman who’d been killed in the line of duty, the police officers in attendance turned their backs en masse on the mayor.

Rudy Giuliani

One might have hoped and expected that some Democrat would have come along and mounted a serious challenge to de Blasio at the primary level, or that the GOP would have found a candidate capable of defeating him in the general election. But no – de Blasio sailed smoothly to re-election without much at all in the way of opposition. It’s not only one of the more puzzling chapters in recent American political history, but also a potential tragedy for the one American metropolis that has done the best job of weathering a decades-long tide of destructive political correctness in the nation’s City Halls.

Catching up with terror enabler Linda Sarsour

Women’s March on Washington

Linda Sarsour shot to fame on January 21 of this year, the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration as president. On that day, feminists marched down the major thoroughfares of several American cities; in Washington, at the main Women’s March, stars of film and TV and music and cable news and professional feminism (Gloria Steinem) took turns giving speeches. Madonna spoke of burning down the White House. Ashley Judd read a poem about being a “nasty woman.”

Linda Sarsour

Joining these superstars on the list of speakers was an obscure woman in hijab. Linda Sarsour, head of the Arab American Association of New York, was one of the event’s organizers, and she used her moment in the sun to say that she would “respect the presidency,” but not Trump himself. She said that Trump had been elected “on the backs of Muslims.” And she said that American Muslims had been “suffering in silence for the past fifteen years.” She didn’t mention the suffering of the many non-Muslim Americans – and non-Muslims elsewhere around the world – who had experienced suffering as a result of suicide bombings, planes being piloted into buildings, gunmen opening fire at concerts and discos, and truck drivers mowing down pedestrians.

Rachel Maddow, lesbian Islam apologist

Sarsour was cheered. A star was born. Rachel Maddow had her on. Sarsour made outrageous claims about the supposed oppression of Muslims in the U.S., and Maddow didn’t question a thing she said. Nor did Maddow ask Sarsour how a woman who supports sharia law and openly praises Hamas, as Sarsour does, could call herself a progressive feminist.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

There are real feminists with Arab or Muslim backgrounds. Among them are Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Brigitte Gabriel. Sarsour has smeared both of them. She has said that they deserve as “ass-whipping.” It is well known that Hirsi Ali, as as girl, was subjected to the brutal practice known as female genital mutilation. This didn’t keep Sarsour from saying that she wished she could take away Hirsi Ali’s and Gabriel’s vaginas because “they don’t deserve to be women.”

Sarsour is not just a woman of words. She is a woman of action. When Brandeis University announced plans to award Hirsi Ali an honorary degree, Sarsour participated in a successful effort to get Brandeis to change its mind.

Sarsour and friends

We wrote about all this in April. We devoted two days to Sarsour. We hoped that perhaps her fifteen minutes of fame would soon be over. Alas, no. Sarsour ended up being named to Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” list. Earlier this month, Glamour Magazine included her and the other Women’s March organizers on its list of women of the year. Publications around the country, ignoring Sarsour’s own ugly views, have portrayed her as the virtuous victim of irrational Islamophobic hatred.

The scene of the Halloween attack

In late October, Sarsour tweeted a photo of her new Democratic Socialists of America membership card. A few days later, after the Halloween terror attack in lower Manhattan, she was heavily quoted in an AOL News story headlined “Muslim New Yorkers Are Bracing for Hate Crimes after Terror Attack” – one of those absurd “backlash” articles that always follow jihadist attacks and that seek to distract attention from the real victims of actual Muslim atrocities to imaginary Muslim victims of non-existent infidel atrocities.

That mosque in Paterson

After the Halloween massacre, Sarsour complained on Twitter that such events are always being used to paint all Muslims with a broad brush. As it turned out, she had more than a passing connection to the jihadist of the day, Saypullo Saipov. As was discovered soon after his arrest, Saipov had attended a mosque in Paterson, New Jersey, that the NYPD’s Demographics Unit, under Mayor Bloomberg, had monitored closely. But the current mayor, Bill de Blasio, who is less worried about terrorism than about “Islamophobia,” listened to a certain individual who told him that monitoring mosques was an anti-Islamic act, and closed down the Demographics Unit. Who was that individual who got the mayor to stop the monitoring of mosques? Linda Sarsour. If not for her, in short, the New York police might have fingered Saipov as a potential terrorist and prevented eight deaths.

Confucius say…what?

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Robert Mugabe

Yesterday we revisited our old pal Robert Mugabe, the brutal Zimbabwean dictator, and learned about a remarkable accolade, the Confucius Peace Prize, that was founded in China in 2010 as an affronted response to the selection of jailed dissident poet Liu Xiaobo for the Nobel Peace Prize, and that was awarded to Mugabe this October. Earlier, as we noted, it had been presented to that other great man of peace, Vladimir Putin.

And who won it last year? Why, none other than Fidel Castro, that’s who.

Peace laureate Fidel Castro

The jury’s statement explained that Fidel, as president of Cuba, “never used any violence or force when faced with problems and conflicts in international relations, especially in Cuba’s relationship with the United States.” True, Castro didn’t invade the U.S.; neither, for some unfathomable reason, did any of his equally formidable Caribbean neighbors, such as Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Dominica. It’s not that Fidel couldn’t have conquered the U.S., of course; he was just so busy oppressing his people, executing dissidents, and torturing gay people that he never quite got around to it.

So what about Mugabe? What did the Chinese have to say about their reasons for paying tribute to him? Their citation praised him for “working tirelessly to build the political and economic stability of his country, bringing peace to the people of Zimbabwe, strongly supporting pan-Africanism and African independence, and making unparalleled contributions for the renaissance of African civilisation.” Coincidentally, Mugabe’s victory was announced on the same day that he gave his instantly famous speech at the United Nations in which he ringingly affirmed that he and his Zimbabwean compatriots “are not gays.”

Qiao Wei, identified in the New York Times as “a poet and the president of the judging committee of the peace prize,” told that newspaper that “Mugabe is the founding leader of Zimbabwe and has been trying to stabilize the country’s political and economic order ever since the country was first founded. He brought benefit to the people of Zimbabwe.”

Not everybody in Zimbabwe agreed. In an irate article, Gorden Moyo, secretary general of the People’s Democratic Party of Zimbabwe, said that his party was “disgusted” by the accolade. “Mugabe as we know him…is a war-monger, a bellicosist [sic] and a sadist who delights in the misery of the people,” wrote Moyo, who added that the 1980s, which the committee had described as Mugabe’s best years,

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Gorden Moyo

were actually the worst years in the history of Zimbabwe. It was that lost decade” which saw Mugabe presiding over ethnic cleansing which left over 20 000 innocent lives of Ndebele speaking people-women and children from Matabeleland and Midlands provinces losing their precious lives…..Homesteads were torched down, property destroyed, schools shut, and opposition leaders and supporters hunted down like wild animals by Mugabe’s private army….In fact the rule of Mugabe is paved with blood, violence, arson and cruelty….If the Organisers of the Prize have any iota of moral rectitude,then they should hang their heads in shame for rewarding murderers who masquerade as peace makers.

In short, “the Confucius Peace Prize…is an insult to the people of Zimbabwe.” We agree, of course – though we know Charles Barron doesn’t, and we’re not too sure about Bill de Blasio.

A peace prize for…Mugabe?

Zimababwe's President Robert Mugabe chants Zanu PF slogans with supporters gathered at the Harare International Conference Centre in Harare, Wednesday May 3, 2000. Mugabe launched the Zanu PF's election manifesto which bears the slogan "Land is the Economy and the Economy is Land". (AP Photo/Christine Nesbitt)
Robert Mugabe

Human Rights Watch has called his record “abysmal.” He kidnaps and beats journalists, steals foreign-aid money, and tortures and kills political opponents. He demonizes gays and whites. But, as we’ve seenpreviously on this website, Robert Mugabe has his share of admirers in the U.S. Current New York Mayor Bill de Blasio took part in a 2002 reception in his honor – this at a time when Mugabe, in one reporter’s words, “was already well into his campaign of terror and murder in Zimbabwe.” So did current New York State Assemblyman Charles Barron, a former Black Panther who actually organized the 2002 Mugabe tribute and who today still views Mugabe as a “shining example of an African leader.”

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Liu Xiaobo

Now it’s clear that Mugabe has fans on the other side of the globe, too. In October, he was selected as this year’s winner of Confucius Peace Prize, which was cooked up five years ago as China’s answer to the Nobel Peace Prize after that distinction went to dissident writer Liu Xiaobo. The latter is still in prison in his homeland, being punished for the crime writing a pro-freedom manifesto.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchu attends a meeting of indigenous communities in Caracas February 21, 2013. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS SOCIETY)
Rigoberta Menchú

Now, no prize is 100% reliable. The Nobel Peace Prize itself is well known for its highly spotty record. In his admirable history of the prizes, Jay Nordlinger notes that Betty Williams, who won in 1976, is no peacenik when it comes to George W. Bush, whom she’s expressed a desire to kill. Laureates Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Rigoberta Menchú, and Nelson Mandela were all fans of Castro; laureates Emily Greene Balch, Arthur Henderson, Linus Pauling, Séan MacBride, and (again) Mandela all praised the Soviet Union. 

But the Confucius Prize, which purportedly exists to “promote world peace from an Eastern perspective,” makes the Norwegian Nobel committee look almost like a pantheon of infallible geniuses.

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Peace laureate Vladimir Putin

In 2011, the trophy went to none other than Vladimir Putin. As one observer, an ethnographer, documentary filmmaker, and writer named Jin Ge, noted, this award came along at precisely the moment when massive crowds were gathering in Moscow to protest against Putin. Why was Putin chosen to receive the peace prize? The Chinese explained: they admired his support for Muammar Qaddafi, his criticism of Western intervention in Libya, and his “iron wrist” response to Chechen independence activists.

jin ge
Jin Ge

“You might wonder,” wrote Jin Ge, “how ‘Iron Wrist,’ Putin, Qaddafi, and Peace fit together.” Jin explained: in the view of Communist Chinese officials, “War only happens between countries, violence against your own people does not count. To protect ‘sovereignty,’ killing is justified. Human suffering is a small prize to pay to achieve the goal of harmony, stability and unity.” As for Qaddafi: “Putin, Qaddafi and Confucius are in the same camp because they are perceived as anti-West. Since the West (together with Japan) is conceived as the archenemy of China, anything opposite of what they interpret as Western is good. If the West criticizes Putin and Qaddafi, then these two guys must be good.”

With these kind of criteria, who else has won the Confucius Peace Prize? We’ll get to that on Monday.

De Blasio’s appalling proclamation

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New York Mayor Bill de Blasio

Here’s a new item for our ever-growing files on The Nation – whose well-nigh nonpareil history of useful stoogery we’ve dipped into rather frequently since beginning this site – and on current New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose participation in a City Hall tribute to Zimbabwean tyrant Robert Mugabe we’ve also taken note of.  It was, of course, only a matter of time before the left’s Manhattan-based flagship weekly and the Big Apple’s stridently progressive mayor ended up in the same item. The convergence of the twain took place earlier this month, when de Blasio issued a proclamation declaring July 6, the magazine’s 150th anniversary, “The Nation Day” in New York City.

Yes, politicians issue such proclamations all the time. And, yes, they rarely mean very much. Last year, after all, de Blasio himself declared August 20 “Al Roker Appreciation Day,” in honor of the Today Show weatherman’s 60th birthday.

Nation_Day_Proclamation_ccBut the text of de Blasio’s proclamation about The Nation was not just the usual empty boilerplate. Recalling the magazine’s founding in 1865 by prominent abolitionists, de Blasio stated: “A century and a half later, the integrity and audacity of America’s oldest weekly magazine are still very much intact.” He went on:

New York has served as The Nation’s home and history-making partner through Emancipation, the Great Depression, two world wars, the civil rights movement, and into the age of technology. Whether taking politicians to task, exposing the lasting effects of war, profiling our state’s progressive labor movement, highlighting the intersection of economic justice and criminal justice, critiquing the rising cost of higher education, reporting on conflicts in Syria or South Sudan or outlining strategies for keeping hope alive, The Nation continues to shed light on the disenfranchised, mobilizing its readers to articulate and reaffirm their values and to take action in the name of progress (necessarily ruffling not a few feathers along the way).

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Katrina vanden Heuvel

This spectacular load of B.S. might have penned by editor Katrina vanden Heuvel herself. In pretending to sum up The Nation‘s history, it entirely omits, among much else, the magazine’s decades of vigorous Stalinist apologetics, of poisonous personal attacks on anti-Communists, and of enthusiastic support for enemies of America and of liberty. It ignores the magazine’s inflexible devotion to a far-left, freedom-hating ideology and its routine practice of blithely twisting or deep-sixing facts that make that ideology look bad.

17/11/05-CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS-Christopher Hitchens, a controversial British-born, U.S.-based journalist; former left-wing, now a conservative, was in Toronto on Thursday to speak at the Grano Speakers Series. He spoke to the Star in his hotel room in the morning.(Photo by Peter Power/The Toronto Star)pmp (Photo by Peter Power/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Christopher Hitchens

Speaking of ideology, perhaps the most outrageous part of de Blasio’s proclamation was its opening: “Healthy debate. Consistent reflection. Diverse voices. Nuanced perspectives.” Right. Tell us another. We only wish the late Christopher Hitchens were alive to read this nonsense and comment on it. Hitchens, of course, was the longtime Nation contributor who, after 9/11, dared to dissent from what had instantly become the magazine’s party line about that atrocity – namely, that the U.S. had “asked for it” – and ended up quitting the staff in 2002.

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Katha Pollitt

In his last column for The Nation, Hitchens lamented that it was becoming “the voice and the echo chamber of those who truly believe that John Ashcroft is a greater menace than Osama bin Laden.” Among the inhabitants of that echo chamber was (and is) Katha Pollitt, whose first response to 9/11, it will be recalled, was to write an article explaining why she wouldn’t let her daughter, in the wake of the atrocity, fly the American flag –that vile symbol of imperialism and oppression – from the window of their apartment, which was located only a few blocks from Ground Zero.

No city suffered more on 9/11 than New York. No American magazine showed less sympathy for the victims, and more “understanding” for the perpetrators, than The Nation. For the mayor of that city to issue an official proclamation congratulating that magazine on its anniversary – a proclamation in which he whitewashes its history and overlooks its disgusting reaction to the attack on the Twin Towers – is a disservice both to the truth and to the people of the city he was elected to serve.

Tyrant Mugabe’s American buddies

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Robert Mugabe

Yesterday, we looked at hedge funder Daniel Och‘s  “intimate, mutually profitable, and utterly unconscionable transactions with some of the most brutal tyrants of our time” – among them Zimbabwean strongman Robert Mugabe. Now 91 years old, Mugabe is the longest-lasting head of state in Africa, and arguably the worst. Banned from traveling to the U.S. and EU, he has a human-rights record that Human Rights Watch has called “abysmal.” Under his regime, journalists are routinely kidnapped and beaten, and aid money is stolen in massive amounts. During the 2008 election campaign, Mugabe’s hirelings killed at least 200 opposition supporters and tortured around 5,000 of them. Mugabe routinely demonizes gay people, whom he’s threatened to punish with beheading, and may well be the most openly racist current leader of any nation on earth, depriving his country’s white citizens of property and due process for no other reason than their skin color. Every international human-rights group agrees: this man is a menace, a monster.

A man holds up d 200 million and 500 million Zimbabwe dollar notes in the capital Harare December 12, 2008.   REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Zimbabwean banknotes for 200 million and 500 million dollars, now worth less than one U.S. cent.

And he’s an abominable steward of his country’s economy, too: a couple of weeks ago his government discarded its “virtually worthless” currency and allowed citizens to exchange every 250 trillion Zimbabwean dollars they held for one U.S. dollar.  

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Daniel Och

As we’ve seen, these inconvenient truths haven’t kept Daniel Och from doing (shady) business with Mugabe. And Och, as it turns out, is far from the only friend, fan, or enabler that Mugabe has in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Recently, the San Francisco Bay View, which identifies itself as a “National Black Newspaper,” published a fulsome tribute to Mugabe by one Obi Egbuna Jr., who identifies himself as a U.S.-based journalist and as a member of something called the Zimbabwe-Cuba Friendship Association. “Mugabe’s pan-Africanist and internationalist vision,” Egbuna wrote, “makes him connect with Africans at home and abroad.” Describing Mugabe as a hero of “freedom-loving people” who “has spent a lifetime fighting for the empowerment of the African woman,” Egbuna gushed that the president’s “best attributes” include “his loyalty to the poor and dispossessed in not only Zimbabwe but among Africans everywhere.”

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Bill de Blasio

It’s not only relatively obscure characters like Egbuna who have given Mugabe props. Take Bill de Blasio, the current mayor of New York City, who, back in 2002, while serving in New York’s City Council, attended a reception welcoming the tyrant to City Hall and was present when the man delivered a speech in the council’s chamber – an honor that no legislative body in a democratic nation should ever have accorded to such a thug. After all, as New York Times reporter Clyde Haberman later observed, Mugabe, by 2002, was already “a certified human rights disaster.” Another journalist, Joel B. Pollak, has put it this way: “By the time Robert Mugabe visited New York’s City Hall in 2002, he was already well into his campaign of terror and murder in Zimbabwe. His regime was torturing its opponents brutally…and cracking down on the media as it pushed white farmers off their land, destroying the country’s economy and plunging it into hyperinflation and starvation.” But de Blasio celebrated him. 

More about this unconscionable act tomorrow.